Monday, March 16, 2015

God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea by Rose Chandler Johnson

God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea- Experiencing God in the Midst Of Everyday Moments  by Rose
Chandler Johnson, is a simple, yet relevant devotional book.  While each of the daily  devotionals are short, and can be read in under two minutes, the applicable message will last with the reader long after the book is put down.  Deceptively simple, each devotion is like a bible study leading the reader meditate deeper into scripture as well as encouraging the reader to reflect and to journal. I can imagine author,  Rose  Johnson taking on the role of a ministry leader for an adult's bible study group. After each entry is a scripture reading to read from the bible, much like a bible study. As with a bible study, there are reflective questions based on the scripture reading and a specific theme.  She follows through to the end, with journaling ideas that encourage the reader to think about the passage as well as how it relates to her life. Not only that, each devotion finishes off with a prayer, "A Sweet Tea Moment" which sums up the theme, and a prayer topic.  Prayer topics range from broad spiritual topics such as prayer, peace and gratitude to specific prayers for those who suffer from illness, depression, poverty and family discord.  For those who do not know where to begin in terms of prayer, or bible study, the author covers everything in this short but succinct book.  Although intended for individual study, this book is almost like a lesson plan for a leader who may wish to use this book as a resource to lead her own bible study group as well. Johnson's educational background and experience as a teacher is obvious in the methodical  and comprehensive format of this efficiently simple book. At times she threads a few lines of anecdotes from her own personal experience and home life- making it easier for the reader to relate.  Yet another strength of this book is that the anecdotes are brief and do not take the focus away from the scripture theme. Often in other devotional books, the story telling and personal anecdotes draw too much focus making the devotion too worldly and superficial, and in turn it can potentially alienate some readers who cannot relate. Johnson stays focused and her book gives scripture the focus that it should have.  The only thing I'd change is to leave out the journal lines entirely and simply leave a little extra space and a minimalist graphic to break up the suggested readings, journal topics, prayer, "Sweet Tea Moments" and the prayer focus.  Any serious reader will know right away that in order to give these topics the time they deserve, an entirely separate journal should be used.  For example, the journal topic on page 61, asking the reader to consider how her life would be different if "you took everything to God in  prayer", could easily take a few pages- much more than the five lines provided.  Nevertheless, I could see why the author included these lines, in order to make it easier for the everyday reader to quickly jot down a few ideas in response to the reflective questions.  As a blogger for Litfuse publicity I received a copy of this book published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for the purpose of writing this review.    This book would make a good outreach to encourage new believers or even those who are not yet Christians, to incorporate Christ and faith into their lives.  The casual themed threaded throughout will appeal to many readers who need a break from fast paced materialism.

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